"Captivate, the Science of Succeeding with People" by Vanessa Van Edwards
Reviewed by Stephanie Craft, Principal of MARKETLINK
Whether a first date, a parent-teacher conference or a meeting with a potential client, the time you spend engaging with people can be intimidating and leave you wondering about the type of impression you make.
Vanessa Van Edwards takes the guesswork out of such interactions. The behavioral investigator created a research lab to study and understand the laws of human behavior. Her secrets and shortcuts to building connections and understanding nonverbal behavior is detailed in Captivate, the Science of Succeeding with People.
Stephanie was introduced to the book through a LinkedIn reading group. While science-backed, Stephanie found the book easy to read and very conversational. “You feel like she’s personally sharing with you all this knowledge she has,” describes Stephanie. “The author is a great storyteller, which just happens to be one of her key concepts about captivating people!”
What Stephanie found most helpful were examples the author uses to illustrate a concept. “She uses stories of business leaders and regular folk like you and me to illustrate ways to apply the knowledge of Captivate into my own interactions.”
Other actionable takeaways for Stephanie:
Building Lasting Relationships
Every relationship is different – whether personal or business – but there are some consistent factors that make all of them successful. These factors include sharing secrets, being vulnerable, asking for advice, and practicing the Golden Rule (so novel!).
Decoding Facial Expressions
Decoding cues and microexpressions (brief, involuntary facial expressions) is like having a superpower. Knowing how to read them takes practice and the author shares tips for how to identify and understand expressions. Stephanie tapped into activities in the book and online resources to practice identifying indicators. “I love how Vanessa went the extra mile to provide additional resources in many of the sections so I could delve into a topic even deeper.”
Taking a Vow of Silence
After recognizing she is an interrupter, the author took a vow of silence for one week. The purpose was to improve her listening skills and become comfortable with not filling in the awkward breaks in conversation. Vanessa learned the best conversations aren’t about what you say, but rather about what you hear. A self-proclaimed Chatty Cathy, Stephanie recognizes it would be hard to pull off but acknowledges she could stand to learn the same lessons the author did!
Whether it’s communicating and networking, understanding difficult people (we all know them!), or building long-lasting relationships, anyone at any level of business can improve our interpersonal skills. Captivate can help you take charge of those interactions.